You’ve just finished putting the finishing touches on your new home — but what have you done to protect it? There are a lot of bad things that can happen to your new home. You can be careful, but if worse comes to worst, you need insurance. Here’s how to find the protection you need at the best rates.
1. Always check with your existing homeowner’s insurance policy first. If your new log home is going to be a part-time vacation home, you can add it to your existing homeowner’s policy at the lowest possible rates. If you’re making your new home your new residence, your current insurer will want to go with you, and, again, will give you preferential rates.
2. Unless you’ve only recently gotten your existing homeowner’s insurance policy after a careful shopping process, don’t stop with just checking your current insurer. Get estimates from at least two other insurance companies for both your existing home and your new log home. Insurance companies almost always give multiple property discounts, and you need to know how their insurance stacks up against your existing home policy in order to compare apples with apples.
3. No matter what company you’re getting bids from, be sure to ask to speak with an agent accustomed to servicing policies in the your area. Many insurers award special, area-specific rates to various parts of the country. The local agent will also be more aware of area-specific restrictions, like wind coverage restrictions in hurricane country.
4. Find out what discount you can get for a $500 to $1,000 deductible. State Farm, for example, will give up to an 8% premium discount if you go from no deductible to a $1,000 deductible.
5. Check the following list to be sure you’re covered for the following items often relevant to log-home owners:
- Log-home replacement materials costs
- Coverage when property is empty over the winter
- Rebuilding to current code
- Unlicensed builders (particularly when you’ve installed the plumbing & electrical)
- Your distance to fire station or some other water source, like a well or creek or water tank
- Large enough defensible area around the house to stop wildfires (roof must NOT be wood)
Shari Steiner is a licensed real estate broker, a speaker and the co-author of Steiners Complete How-to-Talk Mortgage Talk and Steiners Complete How to Move Handbook. You can find out more or ask her questions on her www.movedoc.com website.
This article appeared in the Country’s Best Log Homes 2008 Annual Buyer’s Guide, the largest issue in the magazine’s history.